Tips for Outdoor Picnics and BBQs in the Age of Corona Virus


For some of us in the north eastern part of the country, we are starting to see some consistent spring weather. And while social distancing when it was cold outside was hard enough, the recent sunny days are not making things much easier. (Especially considering this is commonly a very social part of the year: Mother’s Day, Graduations, Memorial Day) We are all trying to think of ways to get together with friends and loved ones safely and responsibly. And with the help of spring weather, an outdoor picnic or BBQ just might do the trick.

During such sensitive times it is hard to please everyone, but a well put together outdoor gathering in nice weather can go a long way towards lifting spirits. Regardless of your culinary chops, it is probably best to keep things simple for now; an elaborate spread can raise concerns about how many people may have had a hand in preparation. I think single servings are going to be the way to go for a while, and the less prep work that goes into them the better. Simple parfaits and fruit cups aligned and covered in disposable flutes or bowls can make for a nice touch. Decanters and carafes of pre-made beverages for everyone to pour themselves can help keep contamination concerns at bay. Use disposable shot glasses to portion out single condiment servings to avoid too many hands on the ketchup spout or too many breathes over the sauerkraut. Do anything you can think of to make potential guests less worried, and free to enjoy the pleasant weather and good company.

If you are choosing to serve a more substantial meal do so using disposable plates, utensils, and containers. Smudges on dishes, cups and utensils have never been as substantial as they are now, so having extra disposables ready and waiting is a must. Stick with the single serving model. Use containers to pre-prepare meals that are covered and can be picked up, moved, and disposed of easily.

As unfortunate as it may be, most of us realize that the return to normalcy is going to be gradual. However, nice spring weather can provide us with opportunities we may not have had in the earlier days of COVID-19. We should always adhere to the guidelines set forth by our local representatives and health departments, but we can also explore what different parts of life might look like from within those guidelines. If you are going to get together and share some time outside with friends and loved ones this weekend, do so responsibly and enjoy!